|Vergenoeg Farm Groot Marico, North West Province, South Africa|
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As a youngster I always said that I wanted to be a farmer one day. My maternal grandmother had a marvellous garden in the southern suburbs of Johannesburg. I loved to spend school holidays with her and there I started to develop a dream. In her garden and kitchen I learned how wholesome home grown food can be. My mother, who obviously learned from my gran, always had some kind of vegetables in our Johannesburg Garden growing too and my brother and I had a mini zoo with all kinds of animals in the backyard to satisfy our longing for the country.
I kept the dream alive somehow and completed a diploma in Agriculture while I worked as a programmer in Johannesburg. I gave farming a good go and from the onset I started going kind of organic. Later I bought my own farm in the Marico District but continued working as a systems programmer. Three years ago I had a car accident which put me in bed for 6 months. I had a good opportunity to think about my life and the impact I have on the environment.
As we have a water problem on the farm I Googled “How to farm with little water” and came across a site mentioning swales and keylines. I had no idea and the only swale I knew was the one on a golf course. I started reading, took the dictionary to find the meaning of permaculture (found nothing) after a while I could not stop reading and watching video’s on Youtube. Eventually in 2010 I ended up at Berg en Dal near Ladismith in the Western Cape doing a two week PDC with passionate and brilliant teachers Tahir and Alex and their supporting team members. Learning, working hard till late at night and making great friends.
Implementation of the design I did as part of the PDC for the farm is well underway. Zone 1 and 2 is on auto pilot and I have time to start work on the other zones which include major earthworks to set up the swales and keylines for the much needed water. I hope to complete this part during this winter before the summer rains start. Although I have not advertised, farmers in the district come along to visit the project. Some think I am nuts while others left in amazement. The next step will be to start teaching others and to share the information and lessons I learned thus far.
|Type: Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course|
|Teacher: Alex Kruger|
|Location: Berg en Dal|
|Date: May 2010|
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